An open letter from a nervous baseball fan the week before the trade deadline

To whom it may concern,

We’re days away from the trade deadline and my favorite baseball team the Detroit Tigers are likely to be selling.

Now you may not be a baseball fan, so I’d like to explain why I might suddenly erupt in fits of rage and sadness over the next few days.

Baseball is a sport unlike any other. We watch these players for 162 games a year. That’s about double the amount of regular season games that the NBA and NHL play and more than 10 times that of the NFL.

We spend a lot of time with these players. They become, for some of us, members of our family. No other sport allows fans to get to know the players like we do in baseball. We watch them grow up in the minors. We see them get better game after game. We see slow declines. We see how some players gel with some teams and not others. We hear their walk up music. Sometimes games go long or are boring, so we make up nicknames and stories about them.

So when players get traded, it can be shocking. Even when we know its coming and that is’s probably for the best of the team, it still hurts. We won’t see them in that uniform again. It may be part of a long term strategy and we know that, but it will take time.

So my friend, co-worker, neighbor, stranger on the street, if sometime this week I jump out of my chair screaming, sobbing, or a mixture of both, this is why. I’ll be ok, but just need to let it out. I’ll try and wear Tigers gear as a potential warning. Hopefully I won’t need to act this way… or hopefully I do. Hard to tell what Al is up to…


King Crimson ruins everything

King Crimson ruins everything.

I saw them twice this summer on tour, in Chicago and Minneapolis. The two shows blew my mind. The “eight-headed beast” – with three drummers up front – played the loudest, and most quiet show I’ve ever seen.

Songs that I had heard thousands of times sounded new again, both at the State Theatre and two nights later at the Chicago Theatre. Listening to Crimson’s live albums have since had the same effect: Familiar but radically different, known but also unknown.

The following week I was at a Talking Heads cover band’s concert. I had wanted to see them several times but had missed the shows. The Talking Heads have been a favorite band for years and I wanted to see their songs performed live, have a few beers and dance.

It became clear within the first song that this would not work. Instead of taking the songs and breathing new life into them, the musicians played to the records we were all familiar with.

I felt a strong pull to leave. Why stay and hear music trying to be something from 30 years ago? I didn’t want to have fun and take a walk down memory lane, I wanted to be challenged. Who cares how much they sounded like the band, I wanted to hear something in 2017.

Another example happened today: tickets became available for our local symphony performing the music of Star Wars: A New Hope while the movie played. I had been excited about this previously, but with the $80 ticket price on my computer screen, I asked: what will I actually be seeing? Will it be something new and a progression of the John Williams score? Or will they play it like we’ve heard it countless times on TV? I’m sure it will be interesting and it’s premature to cast a review, but I have strong doubts. I’d rather buy a ticket to a concert that has musicians who are not playing to a prerecorded movie but rather performing for the music. As a huge Star Wars fan, it feels odd to think about passing up this performance, but I’m sure people will want to hear Star Wars just like they have in the past.

King Crimson ruins everything, and that’s OK. I now thirst for music that is played for that moment we are in, not for a conceived ideas about what it should be.

My Twin Peaks Season 3 predictions

So I’m not one for publishing my theories, but it’s so extraordinary that new Twin Peaks will air tonight I thought I’d share some of my thoughts for posterity. I haven’t read or listened to any theory or predictions. They are a little ridiculous are are informed just by my imagination, but hey, anything could happen in a Lynch program.

Here we go:

  • The first we see of Cooper, errrr Cooper’s doppelgänger, will be when he is released from prison for killing Annie.
  • Good Cooper is in the Red room for the past 25 years and escapes.
  • Or, some major battle will have happened in the past 25 years that we only hear about.
  • If Annie is alive, Laura Dern could be playing her.
  • Michael Cera is the son of Andy and Lucy.
  • Andy is the new Sheriff in town.
  • Donna died of natural causes or a tragedy like a car crash.
  • Ed and Norma are not back together.
  • Jim Belushi plays a cop.
  • Bobby is doing something good for society and is married to Shelly
  • Something happened to Harry S. Truman, like Donna, natural causes or a common tragedy.
  • Ben Horne ran unsuccessfully for Senate and is still on his quest for good in the world.
  • James has a million of stories to tell us.

We’ll see in seven hours! Can’t wait!

The Mystery of iCloud Photo Library storage

This is a curious case of photography, small iPads and the mysterious puzzle of Apple’s optimized storage.
The other month, I found an amazing deal on an iPad Mini 2 — $125 for a 32gb model — more than 60 percent off the retail price. I’ve been wanting a new iPad for a while — my iPad 3 is long past its retirement date. But I’ve been waiting for one of the new iPad Pros to be released later this year so I waited. But this deal was too good to pass up.

If I was buying the Pro, I would max out the storage. But this was a short-term solution I couldn’t pass up.

As a photographer, I have a lot of pictures on my iCloud Photo Library — about 695gb. Setting up my iPad, I was excited to have all my photos available, even in the cloud. I turned it on and waited for the photos to appear.

The problem

A couple days later, I received a notification that my iPad was almost out of storage. Strange. I Iooked at the settings and saw that the library was taking up 25gb. I checked to make sure the optimize storage setting was on. It was.

Maybe it needs some more space to finish syncing, I thought, and deleted some of the larger apps.

Next day, the iCloud library took up 28gb, leaving the iPad with just 400mb of free storage.

Shouldn’t the optimized storage deal with this? I wondered. Have some images cached, but not take up more than a third or even half of my storage. This was true with my 128gb iPhone 6.

Looking at Apple forums didn’t provide any clarity. The best I could surmise is that some photos and thumbnails of the others were downloaded. But what made up that 28gb was unknown. This wouldn’t work.

The solution

Running on low storage is never fun. What I’ve ended doing is setting up my iPad again, fresh.

I will have access to my phone 99.99 percent of the time I’m using my iPad. If I need access to a certain photo, I’ll look it up and AirDrop it to myself or share it to a private shared photo album. I’ve also turned on, for the first time since the Photos update, Photostream.

It’s not the ideal solution, but it gives me an iPad I can work with. I’d rather do this little workaround then having to deal with the annoyances of trying to free up space, which seems to be a losing battle.

I’m still left wondering: What’s in those gigabites stored on my iPad? Could thumbnails and metadata take up that much space? Hopefully, when I get an iPad Pro with maxed out storage, I won’t have to worry about it.

If it does, I don’t know what I’m going to do, delete photos? Yeah right.

That time PJ Fleck blocked me on Twitter

With news that Western Michigan University Head Football Coach PJ Fleck is leaving the Broncos for a bigger school that will not be named, I was reminded of this odd story of when he blocked me on Twitter. I have a lot of respect for Fleck. This story is too good to not share.

It was February, 2015 and Western Michigan’s men’s basketball team had just won the MAC championship, meaning they secured a spot in the NCAA March Madness tournament. I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, excitedly favoriting and retweeting posts, when I saw one from PJ Fleck.

Huh I thought I haven’t seen a tweet from PJ in a long time.

I clicked on the profile and this popped up:


I was shocked.

Blocked by Coach Fleck? What did I do?

I had no idea. I was critical of Fleck during his first season at WMU. He came in and changed our traditions: cut down on the marching band and replaced their songs with a DJ, played the Chicago Blackhawks song whenever they scored a touchdown (we’re Red Wings country here) and more. Oh yeah, they also had a 1-11 season.

Uh oh, what did I tweet?

So I searched through the archives and all I could find was this:

He blocked me over something so small as saying I was having a hard time rowing the boat? They were 1-11…

Fast forward to the December. An article from Sports Illustrated on Fleck detailed a day-in-his-life and the drink he ordered every morning, called “the coach.”

sugar-free Red Bull with ice, five strawberries, a banana and whipped cream — double-blended.

My friend Kyle and I joked about getting one for months. Since it was around the holidays, and I had a bunch of gift cards and there wasn’t a lot of work to do, we were going to order some. Since we worked downtown Lansing, the state capitol and home of the coffee chain, we had multiple choices. We first went to the “Senate Biggby,” explained the order to much confusion. But it didn’t matter: they were out of bananas. We went a couple blocks away to the “House Biggby” explained the order again. They had bananas but no clue about the drink, which was a little surprising since they have so many odd drinks that don’t really look much like coffee at all.

We got the drink, it was something like $12 or $14 for both of them. As we were leaving, we took selfies and tweeted them. The drink wasn’t that bad.

It was then retweeted by a friend who works at Biggby, and then retweeted by Fleck himself. He probably didn’t see my original tweet because he blocked me. I was upset.

He can’t be retweeting my content to boost his brand if he blocked me!

My friends came to the rescue and started an #unblockfritzklug campaign (did I mention it was a slow time around the holidays?)

Within minutes I got a follow notification from Fleck. I was unblocked.

I’ve come to like Fleck a lot and will miss him. Like any fan, I am a little hurt but I think it’s best for his career. This reminded me of this bizarre moment in the beginning of a young coach’s carrer.

But now I really wonder… What I said was something a preschooler would say, how many other people did he block?

Tuebor: Defending our Michigan Flag

The Michigan flag has flown over our Capitol and across our two peninsulas for more than 100 years: through two world wars, the growth of the automobile industry and several economic depressions.

It’s represented Michigan longer than any of us have been alive.

So there should be no surprise that several people, myself included, were offended when Rick DeVos suggested that we change the flag because it is “ugly” and “non useful.”

DeVos wrote:

I’ve complained several times about how ugly and non-useful the current Michigan state flag is. It’s a big missed opportunity. Michigan has amazing design talent, and a state flag is (or at least can be) a powerful community design asset. Think of it as a public park. Unfortunately our current flag doesn’t function as such. For a positive example look at what CA, CO & others are able to do w/ their flags.

He suggests we should design a new flag and offered $500 each for three of the best designs.

Thinking we can just redesign the flag is shortsighted and misses the importance of why we have such symbols.

Our flag is part of the culture and heritage we’ve inherited. It’s more than a “community design asset” — the flag links us with Michiganders before us and will do the same for generations to come.

Yes, the flag has Latin phrases. In the world of studying flags — vexillology — Michigan’s doesn’t rank high. But who cares? Just because it’s not modern enough or artsy enough doesn’t mean it should be changed. What happens in 50 years when new design trends are popular? Should we change it again make a new flag again?

What about the American flag? Designed with red, white and blue and borrowing the Union Jack’s Stars and Stripes, should it be updated to be an American “community park?” I don’t think so. It’s already a mighty natural forest, here when we arrive and waiting for us to fly with pride.

We’ve changed the flag before in Michigan. Our current flag is the third iteration, adopted in 1911. The first had a portrait of our first governor and the second the had the state and country’s cost of arms.

But our current flag speaks so well of our state. The royal blue background represents our Great Lakes. The elk and moose acknowledge the mighty wildlife that roam the land. The shield shows a frontiersman welcoming the rising sun on a peninsula.

And the three Latin phrases:

  • e pluribus unum “from many, one” the U.S. motto, connecting us to our country.
  • tuebor “I shall defend.” The Latin really gives a sense of “I shall defend today and always defend in the future.”
  • quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you.” A beautiful piece of poetry unmatched by any other state.

The flag nods to our land, our heritage and, I’d say, inspires us to look to the future. It may even force us to learn a little Latin.

Maybe the flag isn’t everywhere like other states. But we’re not lacking when it comes to defining ourselves through art, music and even advertising — how much more “Michigan” can you get than Pure Michigan or a simple outline of our peninsulas and Great Lakes.

The flag is not supposed to only reflect who we are today; it’s a symbol of both our past and our future.  While redesigning the flag may be a fun graphic design exercise to garner temporary excitement, the notion that we need a new flag is flawed. It’s not a “big missed opportunity,” as DeVos says, it’s part of who we are as Michiganders.